How many people are with someone they love but can’t help feeling they are missing out on life experiences through the number of compromises involved?
Whilst many find ethic non-monogamy a challenging concept, it should be noted that divorce and infidelity rates are high in conventional monogamous relationships. There is always a risk that a relationship may not last ‘until death do you part’. Particularly if you get bored with each other and the limitations that come with being bound to each other.
Some are of the opinion that the biological and social conditioning around monogamy stem from a by-gone era when people lived decades less than we live now.
There are of course ethically non-monogamous relationships that go through tough times and some even end. Worst fears realised when one person meets someone else and decides to move on. Or one person may decide they can’t live with non-monogamy and the other can’t live without it. It can be difficult if one partner gets more external attention than the other. Another risk is that one partner in a ‘primary’ polyamorous couple may decide they want another primary in addition to, or as well as, their current primary partner when that was not originally agreed to.
The thing is, all relationships come with risks. Arguably, allowing each other more freedom and diversity increases mutual respect and love and reduces the risks.
A good survival strategy in any relationship is to not be co-dependent. If you each feel you could be happy and survive on your own but choose to be together and that you could attract another wonderful soul (or more) if need be … then chances are you will be better, less paranoid-prone-to-jealousy, company. And perhaps increase the likelihood of you staying together.
However feelings are feelings and are very hard to control. Ethically non-monogamous people in relationships do have to learn to manage jealousy and fear-of-loss.
Whilst ethical non-monogamy is about way more than sex … let’s talk about sex. As much as two people may love each other, it’s really challenging to keep the sexual excitement alive in a long term monogamous relationship. That doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with the relationship – it’s just that a level of predictability creeps in and life gets in the way. Often too, day to day issues and/or our self images and conditioning cause psychological blocks to being able to be completely, mindfully be ‘in the moment’ of a sexual experience – spoiling and being spoiled by a partner. And people have different sex drives.
Whilst couples with zero or near-zero/unsatisfying sex lives try to convince themselves that it doesn’t matter, many relationship counsellors disagree.
Many couples who speak about their swinging in podcasts describe a new vitality and depth that develops in their relationship when they start playing with others. They suggest that the increased trust, open mindedness and breaking through of previously taboo barriers means they feel like they can talk about anything. They can raise all sorts of crazy ideas about different life experiences they could try together or apart.
Non-monogamous couples also report a re-vitalisation of their sex lives with each other. One of many benefits is, in seeing other people naked, they realise that we all have ‘imperfections’ and yet are uniquely beautiful – and develop heightened confidence in their own attractiveness no matter what their shape and size.
An added bonus with ethcial non-monogamy is that deep friendships can develop between couples and their play-mates due to the intimacy, open-minded trust and ‘secrets’ they share.